As we examine ourselves to see whether we have saving faith, it is sometimes tempting to become discouraged. Jesus is a great Savior, but oh, my faith is so weak!
As one man once told his pastor,
“I know, thou sayest, that Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners: and that ‘Whosoever believeth in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.’ (John iii. 15.) Neither can I know but that, in a sense of my own ‘sinful condition, I do cast myself in some measure upon my Saviour, and lay some hold upon His all-sufficient redemption: but, alas, my apprehensions of Him are so feeble, as that they can afford no sound comfort to my soul!”
I wonder if you have ever felt like that? If you have, be encouraged by how his pastor responded,
“Courage, my son.
Were it that thou lookest to be justified, and saved by the power of the very act of thy faith, thou hadst reason to be disheartened with the conscience of the weakness thereof; but now that the virtue and efficacy of this happy work is in the object apprehended by thee, which is the infinite merits and mercy of thy God and Saviour, which cannot be abated by thine infirmities, thou hast cause to take heart to thyself, and cheerfully to expect His salvation.
Understand thy case aright. Here is a double hand, that helps us up toward heaven. Our hand of faith lays hold upon our Saviour; our Saviour’s hand of mercy and plenteous redemption lays hold on us. Our hold of Him is feeble and easily loosed; His hold of us is strong and irresistible.
If work were stood upon, a strength of hand were necessary; but now that only taking and receiving of a precious gift is required, why may not a weak hand do that as well as a strong? As well, though not as forcibly.”
Bishop Hall’s “Balm of Gilead,” 1650.